"KAKEHASHI Project" Bunka Fashion Graduate University (Tokyo Met.)

Dispatch in March 2014

Group 2 (University Students and Graduate Students)
Bunka Fashion Graduate University (Tokyo Met.)

Period:March 3, March 17 – 28, 2014
Local Visit Destination:LIM College (New York)
Number of Participants: 25

Tour Photo Album

Photo of Orientation in Tokyo
Orientation in Tokyo

Photo taken at EMP Museum
EMP Museum
(Learning about U.S. culture)

Photo taken at The Art Institute of Seattle
The Art Institute of Seattle

Photo taken at Seattle Central Community College 1
Seattle Central Community College
(University exchange)

Photo taken at Seattle Central Community College 2
Seattle Central Community College

Photo taken at Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
(Learning about U.S. culture)

Photo taken on Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
(Learning about U.S. history and culture)

Photo taken at Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal
(Learning about U.S. history and culture)

Photo taken at Tory Burch
Tory Burch
(Company visit)

Photo taken at LIM College 1
LIM College

Photo taken in Times Square
Times Square
(Learning about U.S. history and culture)

Photo taken at LIM College 2
LIM College

Photo taken at LIM College 3
LIM College

Photo taken at LIM College 4
LIM College

Photo taken at LIM College 5
LIM College

Photo taken at JFK International Airport
Departure from JFK International Airport

Voices from Participants

1. What impressed you most in this experience of promoting the charms of Japan in the U.S.?

  • Our group gave a presentation on the evolution of the Japanese kimono through changing times. In our discussions before departure, the group agreed we were more likely to capture and maintain audience interest if we focused on modern day changes rather than historical aspects. So we put together the presentation picking out facts and information we thought would be of interest to U.S. students.
    However at the end of our presentation, we realized the audience was keen to learn more about the history of kimono and we were bombarded with questions. During the question and answer session, the U.S. students appeared more engaged and interested than the Japanese students (which I believe was their way of showing appreciation to the presenters) and seemed eager to gain knowledge for their own edification. In comparison, it was rare for more than one Japanese student to ask a question, which seemed to surprise our U.S. counterparts. While the content of the message we aimed to project in the United States was important, I believe a more pressing challenge for Japanese students, myself included, is to develop the kind of attitude that our U.S. counterparts demonstrated during our presentations.
  • I was most impressed by the enthusiastic reactions of the U.S. audience to our presentations on the appealing aspects of Japan. During our group presentation on Japanese technology the audience attentively watched the videos of denim processing and dyeing techniques, including the Yuzen method, and closely observed the samples. I was also touched by the applause received for helping students in another group put on a kimono. In Japan, there is nothing remarkable about dressing yourself or others in a kimono, although fewer young people have the skill nowadays. The process of wearing a kimono apparently amused the U.S. students; they asked many questions and applauded when I finished, which remains a memorable experience. I enjoyed making the presentation; the U.S. students were very responsive and made things easy for us. It was a great experience.

2. What would you like to pass on to people in your community and school after you return to Japan?

  • On the trip to the U.S. I witnessed how few Japanese fashion brands are featured in New York's department stores and multi-brand retailers much less than I had anticipated. It took a trip to the U.S. to realize the obvious fact that fashion trends and consumer preferences in the U.S. market are different from those in the Japanese market. (Perhaps people visiting Japan come away with the same impression that stores hardly carry the fashion brands of their home country.)
    I would like to see more Japanese brands break into the U.S. market. This would allow a greater number of Americans to enjoy Japanese fashion. It would also be interesting to bring more U.S. brands to Japan. I will look for ways to promote global trade in fashion.
    I am not quite ready to share with others what I learned during this trip, but I do hope to be able to impart this knowledge in some way and make use of it in my future study or work.
  • As I spent time with the U.S. students I became aware of their strong interest in the classes and work of Japanese students. I was happy to hear many of them said they would love to visit Japan someday. The trip let me have so many first experiences, and I learned so much from participating in the KAKEHASHI project. It would be great to have more opportunities like this, for example, school or community based programs that provide avenues for students to communicate with people abroad and promote Japanese culture.

3. Please freely describe your experience in the KAKEHASHI Project.

  • Our schedule was more demanding than anticipated, but we were able to experience U.S. culture first hand during the ten-day trip. Except for the hours allotted for presentations, we were able to visit various places I had only seen in books or on television, including famous museums, historical sites, and streets lined with the latest fashion brands. We also did many things we would not normally be able to do on personal trips, such as sit in on classes, which was a great experience. If there is another program like this, I definitely like to participate.
  • We had numerous occasions to meet and interact with locals on this trip, and students at the school we visited welcomed us warmly. Making presentations there was a valuable experience, and meeting with U.S. students and promoting Japanese culture, which was the primary goals of this trip, gave me an opportunity to view my own country objectively and learn new things. Thank you very much.

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